The Preferred Biotech Resource in Asia-Pacific
Vol 19, No 07, July 2015
Biotech in China
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Eye on China


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Genome Institute of Singapore partners Nutricia Research to investigate human gut microbiome
A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and Nutricia Research have collaborated to investigate the health benefits of prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics.

The Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) is an institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). It has a global vision that seeks to use genomic sciences to improve public health and public prosperity. Established in 2001 as a centre for genomic discovery, the GIS will pursue the integration of technology, genetics and biology towards the goal of individualized medicine.

Nutricia Research is the research and innovation organization behind many well-known brands for infant formula, cereals and wet foods. They have products for people with specific nutritional needs, such as those with muscle loss, malnutrition, allergies and Alzheimer's disease.

Under the three-year research collaboration agreement, GIS' microbial genomics team and the Nutricia Research Early Life Nutrition team will seek to understand the effects of nutrition on the development of intestinal microorganisms or 'gut microbiome'. These are microbes that exist in harmony with the human host; the composition of which can have an impact on health. It is known that gut microorganisms perform processes that aid digestion, synthesize vitamins, and create essential enzymes not produced by the human body.

Researchers want to investigate how nutrition supports microbiome in early life, can help prevent disease later in life. The Nutricia Research team will be conducting two nutritional clinical studies, while the GIS team will provide state-of-the-art genomic analyses to better understand the complex microbial communities in study populations.

Prof Dr Jan Knol, who is Director of Gut Biology and Microbiology Platform at Nutricia Research and Professor Intestinal Microbiology of Early Life at Wageningen University, described the collaboration as "a big step forward with the team at GIS to apply such advanced technologies in our clinical studies."

Dr Kaouther Ben Amor, Senior Team Leader for Gut Microbiology and Physiology at Nutricia Research said, "Gut Microbiology is a key focus area in our research programs and partnerships like this one are extremely valuable to better understand the interaction between nutrition and the microbiome during the very early phases of life."

Prof Huck Hui Ng, Executive Director at the GIS said, "Microbiome research is an exciting frontier and it leverages on GIS's core capability to analyze and study the complex community of microbes."

Prof Martin Hibberd, Senior Group Leader for the GIS microbial groupings said "This collaboration will allow us to use our expanding expertise in metagenomics to develop a molecular understanding of any benefits associated with healthy microbes."

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